Some kinda visionary (on gestural interfaces)

“Just as water, gas, and electricity are brought into our houses from far off to satisfy our needs in response to a minimal effort, so we shall be supplied with visual or auditory images, which will appear and disappear at a simple movement of the hand, hardly more than a sign.”

Paul Valery, 1931.

cool.

(thanks James)

links for 10 January 2007 – Using whitespace for more than legibility

On a different note… I’m so bored of people who think that they’re cool because they can think of negative things to say about the iPhone… especially when practically all of them disclaimer it with ‘oh, I totally love it and I can’t wait to buy one, but…’. Sure, there are definitely some technical issues (how is this phone not 3G?! what’s with the built in battery? etc.) and of course we can’t make definitive statements about the usability of the interface until we actually get a proper look at one of the, in the flesh. But people, please.
Negativity is so 2006.
Speaking of which. 10 days in and my New Years Resolutions are miraculously still holding… How’re yours doing?

iPhone – now *this* is a revolutionary interface

iPhone

What a great follow on from my previous rant on mobile UI – go read Steve Jobs’ overview of what he thinks of the current breed of mobile phones and how fun they are (not!) to use, and what Apple have done about it.

This *has* to be the most lust-worthy device on the planet at the moment. I’d trade my Nokia N73 in a heartbeat for one of these.

What’s so cool about it?

  • it’s beautiful. When was the last time you saw a beautiful mobile UI? (I can hear you saying ‘never’ from here). The interface design is sexy. Lustworthy. Typical Apple.
  • it’s gestural. There’s one button, a home button, and your fingers do all the rest of the work. Check out the ‘slide to unlock’ in the image above. Forget millions of tiny buttons – you have the interface you need at the time to do the job you’re doing (because this puppy is a phone, an iPod and more!). Forget styluses – they’re a pain in the neck and get lost all the time. Fingers are the input device of the future.
  • it’s aware. It has sensors that tells it whether you’re looking at in in portrait or landscape mode and it adjusts accordingly. It knows when you’re using it as a phone and shuts off the interface. How clever!
  • It does all the work for you. Sometimes it’s the simple things that count. Having spent hours and hours configuring and setting up my new Nokia N73 to utilise all the stuff that’s installed on it and some of it’s capabilities. How much easier is the Apple approach where the device does all the work for you.

Oooh! and that Google Maps integration… I love it. Why didn’t we think of that already?
For a long time, usability and design people have been debating about whether or not people want ‘convergent’ or multifunctional devices. Is it possible for one device to be able to do many different things well? Or will a device always be primarily one animal that has some capabilities in other areas.

Apple has just made that debate completely redundant.

And the crazy thing is that the whole approach is so incredibly obvious. Look at the task that the user is trying to achieve and design the interface to support that. By removing the nightmarish restrictions of the hardware and replacing it with one big, responsive screen, Apple has shed all of these restrictions and with it, all the things we thought to be conventional about mobile phone design.

Sign me up. I want one now.

The only thing I’m a little sad about is how much of a fuss Steve is making about patenting all the cool things they’ve developed for this phone. More than 200 patents.

That’s not very caring, sharing 2.0 is it? (Of course, Apple shareholders might see this somewhat differently).

Check out the keynote for yourself at Engadget (brilliant live coverage, well done!)

(image credit to Engadget also).

So – what do you make of the iPhone?

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links for 09 January 2007 – Yahoo! buys MyBlogLog for a ridiculous sum

  • Yahoo has bought the distributed social network MyBlogLog…the story says the price is around $10 million…. I’ve been signed up on MyBlogLog for a while now… it’s kind of cool but very ugly and *desperately* needs a better mechanism for browsing. Go check it out, and see if you can find me there!